September 23, 2020

Escape rooms open up to virtual thrills because of the coronavirus

In Temecula, a gold rush-era cabin, complete with wooden walls and mining equipment, attracts groups of people on a quest to find a secret mine full of gold. The seekers leave no object untouched, no clue unexamined.

These participants aren’t actually in a cabin, but are watching online as an employee of MindTrap Escape Room takes their suggestions to find the loot and get out in less than an hour in an escape room in a strip mall off Ynez Road. Their guide, dressed as 19th century miner “One Eyed Bill,” stays in character the whole time.

Welcome to an escape room during the coronavirus pandemic.

In normal times, escape rooms are an experience where a group of people would voluntarily be locked inside a themed room for a period of time, usually an hour, with an objective to solve a series of puzzles and clues inside the room to escape the room before time runs out.

However, due to the coronavirus, the physical spaces have been shut to the public even as many escape room businesses still have to pay rent. MindTrap, which has locations in Temecula and Murrieta, is among the escape rooms across Southern California forced to innovative because of the pandemic. For many businesses, that’s meant going virtual.

“This was mainly created out of a necessity to be able to offer this entertainment and stay open and be able to survive this,” said Nathan Bekker, who owns MindTrap with his wife Emma.

Virtual thrills

Some escape rooms such as MindTrap livestream existing escape spaces to participants via videoconferencing; others conduct an escape room-like game where an employee shows participants images, maps and clues on a videoconference (but do not broadcast from an actual escape room); and others offer digital games with escape room-like elements.

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At its Temecula location, MindTrap livestreams the 1800s-themed “Gold Rush” game and in Murrieta it livestreams  “Excalibur,” in which online participants work with the escape room character to find the sword once wielded by King Arthur.

In both instances, there’s a lot of dialogue going on between online participants and the character in the escape room.

Under flickering lanterns Nathan Bekker, MindTrap Escape Room owner, shows the Gold Rush-themed room where he’ll broadcast Zoom videos to participants in Temecula on Friday, September 4, 2020. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Nathan Bekker, MindTrap Escape Room owner, in a Gold Rush-themed escape room where he’ll broadcast Zoom videos to participants in Temecula on Friday, September 4, 2020. Participants must either defeat or be defeated. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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MindTrap Escape Room in Temecula is now done virtually via Zoom to participants, due to the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, September 4, 2020. Air conditioning blasts in the Gold Rush-themed room. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

MindTrap Escape Room features a Gold Rush-themed area in Temecula on Friday, September 4, 2020. Participants play virtually. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

The game master records for a Zoom video where players …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

      

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